You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register

Land & Naval Battle Tactics
Moderated by Scipii, Awesome Eagle, DominicusUltimus

Hop to:    
loginhomeregisterhelprules
Topic Subject: Roman battle formation
posted 09-05-13 02:54 PM EDT (US)   
The basic outiline/model for the roman battle formation that works best for me is:

-3 Velites (or other javelin chuckers) in the first row grouped in single line formation (CTRL+1)
-4 Hastati in the second row grouped in single line formation (CTRL+2)
-4 Principei in the third row grouped in single line formation (CTRL+3)
-4 Triarii in the fourth row grouped in single line formation (CTRL+4)
- 2 units of Equites or other non-missile cavalry. Place one on each flank at the front.
- 2 units Onagers or Heavy Onagers for artillery (heavy onagers are all the siege gear you'll ever need) to be kept in the back of the formation. (CTRL+5)
- Place your General's unit directly behind the main body of the formation and try to keep him around that area. (The General has special abilities that affect your troops or your enemies troops. From that rear position, almost your entire army will be within, or a quick gallop away, to the effective range of these abilities) The Generals are too valuable to lose because of this, not to mention the huge hit to morale that every one of your units on the field takes when you get your general killed.
*(yeah I said you killed him, and it WAS definitely your fault, you sent him to engage that single group of missile troops, thinking ,"definitely a safe assignment" as you focus on some other troops for what seemed like only a few seconds but when you return you find your leader impaled like a sheesh-ka-bob by a group of spearmen which seemed to come out of nowhere)

Other Notes:
- I tend to turn off the skirmisher mode for my Velite's and run them away myself when the enemy infantry attacks. (the computer runs too early)
- Stretch out the row of Principei's until they are in a long line that is 3 men deep.
- Using the Principei line as a guide for line length stretch out the Triarii, Hastati, and Velite lines to match the length of the Principei line.
- Make sure you are putting your most experienced troops at the flanks or in a row of 5 at positions 1,3,and 5. Placing the lesser experienced troops in the 2 and 4 slots.
- 1 2 3 4 5
strong, weak, strong, weak, strong
-If you plan to move your onagers after the battle begins place them at the very front (don't worry they are painfully slow and will quickly fall behind everyone else.

- The one thing I am certain about in this game is that MERCENARY TROOPS are invaluable at times and can really come in handy in a tight spot. However,"CAVIAT EMPTOR" which is latin for "BUYER BEWARE", hire MERCENARY TROOPS ONLY IMMEDIATELY BEFORE YOU USE THEM AND IN BATTLE MAKE SURE TO USE THEM 1ST AND FOREMOST, because immediately after battle it is wise to then DISBAND ANY MERCENARY UNITS THAT YOU HAVE LEFT. Do this because they're monthly upkeep cost is staggering (you pay them every turn their original hire cost) Therefore, keeping any mercs on the payroll eat your income FAST! If you hired some for crucial immediate defense, make sure to make other arrangements as quickly as you can in order to get these get these money suckers out of your coffers.

Like I said: this is a basic model for my battle formations. You will have to improvise and the troops i mentioned are certainly interchangeable. The key concept to concentrate on is to put troops up front that are easily replaceable and aren't that concerned about losing, and back 'em up with better troops that aren't as easily replenished. You can cut down the proportions of this model and still keep the same basic idea.
-Ex: using two types of infantry instead of three, arranged in 2 rows of 4 units. Or, one i use often is, two types of infantry in 2 rows of 6. At the beginning, with limited choice of units I often line up 6-8 Hastati and use only one row for infantry. (TIP: don't stretch the line and thin the ranks so much when using only 1 row).

-Anyway, have fun with it, and I hope this helps at least one person.
Replies:
posted 09-05-13 03:20 PM EDT (US)     1 / 7  
I hear you on the Mercenaries, those blighters sure do love those gold coins. Wise advice to hire them as late as you can and disband them as soon as possible afterwards.
posted 09-06-13 05:53 AM EDT (US)     2 / 7  
Hail Caesar

This was pretty good, do you think you could add on for a late game army? This one is more for early days.

Also, the Onagers - usually by the time I get those I'm way into fielding Legionnaires and First Cohorts etc so I don't know if they fit in with the Hastati/Triarii/Principe build only because they're not accessible at that early point in game.

If you put a couple pictures in it'd make a great strategy article

A f t y

A A R S

:: The Sun always rises in the East :: Flawless Crowns :: Dancing Days ::

"We kissed the Sun, and it smiled down upon us."
posted 09-24-13 04:33 PM EDT (US)     3 / 7  
What about good mercenary units, like Cretan archers or Balearic slingers? The romans always had a lack of ranged options beyond velites, but I get where your coming from in terms of mercenary infantry and such.

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." -Robert Frost
posted 09-25-13 01:12 AM EDT (US)     4 / 7  
Please excuse me if this is a daft question (as someone looking forward to rather than owning the game) but once you have the formation, how in general would you use it?

In RTW it was always very hard to disengage or withdraw troops and so letting Hastati take the initial brunt of the fighting and rotating them out didn't work (at least not for me) - in your model how/when would the Principes get involved, just as a reserve to come forward in a gap in the fighting / after the Hastati are wiped out or something earlier, or mainly for flanking?

Are most of the Roman artillery options giant immobile(ish) things that look odd on the battlefield or is there still a place for the equivalent of earlier games' ballista and scorpions? Presumably those would take a place nestling further forward, protected by infantry but still able to fire out the front of the formation.
posted 11-07-13 10:49 AM EDT (US)     5 / 7  
Question Posted:

Please excuse me if this is a daft question (as someone looking forward to rather than owning the game) but once you have the formation, how in general would you use it?

In RTW it was always very hard to disengage or withdraw troops and so letting Hastati take the initial brunt of the fighting and rotating them out didn't work (at least not for me) - in your model how/when would the Principes get involved, just as a reserve to come forward in a gap in the fighting / after the Hastati are wiped out or something earlier, or mainly for flanking?

Are most of the Roman artillery options giant immobile(ish) things that look odd on the battlefield or is there still a place for the equivalent of earlier games' ballista and scorpions? Presumably those would take a place nestling further forward, protected by infantry but still able to fire out the front of the formation.


In reply:
When or why to use your second line of infantry or Principes varies from battle to battle.

Firstly, the reason why your front line is your front line is because they are easily replaced if and when they are lost this does not mean to just let them die though. You must always be watching your front line carefully for signs that your units are about to waver. Such as a unit being greatly outnumbered, a unit being flanked while already engaged, or a unit being assaulted with melee cavalry. Once your unit starts to waver and their flag begins to blink, you have waited to long to send in help. I said "send in" not retreat. If your unit is getting pounded and if they have not begun to waver, if you command them to turn and run they certainly will waver then. Commanding them to withdraw while engaged means they will turn their backs on their enemy in the heat of battle and suffer heavy losses in doing so. Retreating with your front line should rarely happen. Unless, your army is for sure going to lose the battle. Then retreating with all of your troops becomes the play. Even then, keeping the enemy busy with your front line allows your other, less easily replaced, troops valuable time to flee. Now that that is covered, some ideas about when and why to send in your second line of infantry to support your front line are as follows.

To begin, if the front line is being assaulted by infantry and if your men in the front line are extremely outnumbered or have already begun to waver, the primary purpose of the second line of infantry becomes obvious. Reinforcement and support of the front line but do not withdraw your front line unit.

Following up, if your front line is about to be or is under attack by melee cavalry, change the attacked unit to loose formation so that you can more easily and immediately support them with spear infantry. Once the spear infantry is engaged, or almost engaged withdrawing your front line unit is advisable.

And last, If your front line is under heavy assault from missile troops (I have faced huge armies consisting almost entirely of missile troops) your velites, having a short range, are not of much help, so change your formations to "attacking testudo" to protect your men as they advance. In this case your second line, most likely will not be taking missile fire. Keep the second line close behind and when the missile troops begin to run send in the second line to chase down running missile troops. Your second line should have no problem advancing through the line of the units in testudo form. Do this because testudo form a) does not allow units to run in this formation and b) changing from testudo formation back to regular formation takes time but must be done before you can adequately pursue the fleeing missile troops. This tactic reminds me of more modern warfare, when infantry will follow closely behind a tank, using it as cover as they advance. The word "Testudo" is latin for turtle and was the tank of its day.

Next, here are some examples of how and why I use reinforcements to support my front line units that are doing well in battle. Always look for holes in the enemy front line formation, even when other parts of your line are or soon may be in trouble. Gaps in the enemy front line formation can be, a) created by your front line units winning and causing the enemy units to waver, or b) simply left open because of a lack of troops available to fill the hole. If you see a gap in the enemy line, or when you see any of their unit flags begin to flash. In order to finish punching a hole through their line, or to ensure you exploit a hole that already exists, IMMEDIATELY send in "troops". I say troops generally because, you can send in cavalry to finish punching the hole and then send your melee infantry through or your can punch through with your second line and send cavalry through. Either way, once you have broken through their line you can easily overpower them from the flanks or from behind. Also, if part of your line is outnumbered, or if it currently is or looks to soon be in trouble sending troops through this hole to flank or attack the enemy units causing the dilemma, is usually the best way to support your troubled units. I hate cliches but in this case this one fits: "The best defense is a good offense".

An answer to this post:

Are most of the Roman artillery options giant immobile(ish) things that look odd on the battlefield or is there still a place for the equivalent of earlier games' ballista and scorpions? Presumably those would take a place nestling further forward, protected by infantry but still able to fire out the front of the formation.


Yes, the artillery options are giant immobile(ish) things. When attacking a fort or town you will not have to move these units far but in a field, they are worth the time and trouble of advancing them forward enough to fire on the enemy. And, usually, they can be easily protected with a single spear infantry unit because if they are some distance from the front line then, most likely the only troops the enemy will attack them with is cavalry.

However, I always try to be the defending unit on the battlefield. I will always try to draw enemy armies on the campaign map into attacking me first. Of course, you cannot do this easily when an enemy occupied town is involved unless you siege them out, and who wants to wait that long? But, like I said when attacking a town or fort you will not have to move your artillery far to come to bear on enemy positions. Therefore, if you are the defender you do not have to move your artillery at all, you can just wait for the enemy to come within range, and then fire. Gen. James Longstreet also preferred to conduct a defensive campaign whenever possible. I share his belief that it is more advantageous than attacking. One final note; when I have actual archer missile units (not velites) available for training as roman soldiers or hire as mercenaries, I will load up on them, because if artillery units aren't available, replacing artillery with archers is not a bad swap. Archers have a much longer range than velites and I will take them over velites any day of the week. The only time I don't mind paying the high cost of keeping mercenary units more than a turn or two is when the mercenaries are archers. Then, I think, they are worth the money.

Now, a little on archers. When using archers I usually will line them up in between my first and second line of infantry, it cuts down on their range but they will not have to run and turn again to fire once behind your melee troops. One may argue that archers in the front will fire arrows sooner than ones behind infantry and therefore fire more shots. This is incorrect because these lost shots are made up for during the time it takes archers placed out front to run behind the front line of infantry. Also any shots being fired at MAXIMUM range with MINIMUM accuracy by archer units placed in the very front are instead fired at MINIMUM range with MAXIMUM accuracy by archers not having to run placed directly behind the front line of infantry. This allows you to disable the skirmish capability on these archer units. Also don't forget to turn on their flaming arrow ability when available. Lastly, since units that carry shields do so on their left side with their left arm. It is wise to fire on them from their right side, or from your left side firing on units to the right.

Thanks for your attention, and I hope this answers your questions and helps more people.
posted 11-07-13 01:24 PM EDT (US)     6 / 7  
Onagers will take too long to research and recruit. Better jsut use Ballistas as they are even more effective than Onagers and can be recruited relatively early.
posted 11-13-13 03:57 PM EDT (US)     7 / 7  
In head-on melee Roman legionaries can shred just about anything in their path. I found that actually putting your strongest infantry units front and center is the most effective way because your lighter and faster hastasi and stuff work better for flanking.

Unlike the old RTW where one solid heavy cavalry charge could rout an entire cohort unit this time around they have so much armor they can shrug off even charges from the rear.

The only real use I found for battlefield artillery is to kill elephants and cavalry in direct aim mode. For anything else archers and velites will kill far more far faster.

A good late-game army would be 8-10 cohorts, 4-6 heavy cavalry for flanking and chasing and creativity for the rest. Personally I find a single mercenary elephant unit works wonders when places right behind the main line of contact by steadily decreasing enemy morale from it's very presence there.
Once the cohorts smash into the (usually single) enemy line everything except a strong phalanx with collapse and rout. Bear in mind they have quite a good charge bonus. Numbers matter little because their heavy armor and good stamina mean they will hold for as long as you need them, even if outnumbered heavily. Various enemy missile units will then pull back to a second line where your flanking cavalry with make short work of them. Use a general's ability to drop the morale of the most powerful unit holding the line against your cohorts and them shower it with missiles. For good measure charge into the enemy's backs with any unoccupied cavalry to achieve a double envelopment.
wham, bam and victory in 10 minutes or less.
You must be logged in to post messages.
Please login or register
Hop to: